Fairmont Southampton Provides Update On Plan

February 21, 2023

Construction at the Fairmont Southampton hotel is “due to begin in the next quarter,” the “first priority will be to renovate the hotel” which “will continue to feature 593 guestrooms and they will all be completely refurbished and modernized” and a “new SDO application is in the process of being submitted” and these “units will provide an additional 195 guest rooms to the hotel’s existing 593 rooms.”

This is according to an advert on Bernews — which you can see in full here [PDF] – which states, “After three years of pandemic-related setbacks, Westend Properties Limited is thrilled to announce that renovations on the iconic Fairmont Southampton are moving forward and construction is due to begin in the next quarter.

“The road to this announcement has taken many twists and turns, but through the journey, the company’s commitment to this project and to transforming the hotel into a luxury resort that will benefit visitors and residents alike, has never wavered. We are very excited to get started and would like to take this opportunity to share some details about the undertaking.

Graphic extracted from the ad

Fairmont Southampton Bermuda Feb 2023

Hotel property renovations to begin

“Our first priority will be to renovate the hotel. It’s important to note that the existing building is not going to be torn down, but it will be upgraded. As previously announced, the hotel will continue to feature 593 guestrooms and they will all be completely refurbished and modernized with the latest technology. The existing restaurants and bars will also be updated. The 18-hole golf course will remain, with some minor reconfiguration, and there will be additional venues and amenities, such as a reimagined Beach Club and a new outdoor events lawn. As the only hotel on the island with the guestroom and meeting room capacity to host very large conferences and conventions, its reopening is sure to once again draw visitors from around the globe. It’s worth noting that the Fairmont Southampton is responsible for 25% to 30% of airlift to the island.

SDO application

“Residents may remember that the hotel’s previous owners applied for and were granted a Special Development Order [SDO] in 2009.

“An SDO from the Government of Bermuda’s Planning Department is required when a proposed development doesn’t fall within regular planning guidelines. As detailed in the plans that were submitted at the time, the SDO was for 130 fractional tourism and residential units. Though it was never executed, that SDO is still in effect.

Graphic extracted from the ad


“To that end, a new SDO application is in the process of being submitted. The footprint is not substantially different from the SDO that was granted in 2009, but there is a proposed increase in the number of villas as well as in the height of some of the residential and tourism units. It is estimated that the projected build will only take up an additional 34 acres of the entire 100-acre property; 62% of the existing recreational and green space will remain. Once the SDO is approved, we can begin the design and pre-construction stage of the project. Currently, we anticipate the development will be executed in three phases; the ultimate timing will be based on the market demand for comparable real estate and will be over a longer duration, estimated at 15-20 years.

“Incorporating these residential and tourism units will not only contribute to the building of the amenities that are a critical part of this project, but will also attract both local and foreign buyers, resulting in a greater economic spend for the community, including increased year-round business for local service providers.

“In Phase One, villa owners will have the opportunity to include their property in the hotel rental programme. Construction of Phase One will not begin until well after the hotel renovations have commenced. These units will provide an additional 195 guest rooms to the hotel’s existing 593 rooms, which is approximately a 30% increase in room capacity.

Economic benefits

“The renovation of the Fairmont Southampton, combined with the addition of the new units, will result in a tremendous economic benefit to Bermuda:

“As the largest hotel on the island, when the Fairmont Southampton’s renovated rooms are reopened, it will assist in reigniting our tourism industry post-pandemic and bring more visitors to Bermuda.

“The revamped facilities will also play a key role in redefining the island’s merits and profile as a well known resort destination internationally and attract more conference and convention business traffic to the island. This will be particularly beneficial through the traditionally quieter winter months.

“The new units will help bring more benefits to the local community as they will attract foreign buyers and those looking for a second home.

“As the numbers to the right demonstrate, this SDO will have a significant and positive effect on Bermuda’s economy, both during and after the construction, thanks to an increased need for local businesses and service providers who will reap an estimated 55% of the wider economic impact of the development.

Environmental considerations

“We are aware that some Bermudians may be concerned about the environmental consequences that the proposed development could have on the Fairmont Southampton property and surrounding area. We share those concerns.

“We want to reassure Bermudians that Westend Properties is committed to minimizing the environmental impact that the renovation of the hotel and construction of the proposed residential and tourism units might have. We understand the importance of balancing the often-competing interests of conservation and progress. That’s why we are proceeding with this project in a very intentional way. We have engaged expert consultants to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact assessment and intend to take the resulting recommendations into consideration when fi nalizing the construction plans. We will take all reasonable steps to maintain the overall “environment” while undertaking this project.”

An aerial 360° look at some of the property as it appears now, click on it to look around

In delivering the 2023 Budget last week, Premier David Burt said, “The redevelopment of the Fairmont Southampton hotel is eagerly awaited. In the months since this Honourable House considered the legislation to support the project, lawyers, development consultants, bankers and technical officers have been heavily engaged in the preparation of the various agreements that will provide the framework for financing and development.

“Honourable Members will no doubt be aware that the process for the consideration of a revised Special Development Order has begun, with the first public consultation meeting with the neighbouring residents set for early next week.

“Further, Mr Speaker, Honourable Members will be invited to consider amendments to the Public Treasury [Administration and Payments] Act 1969 to strengthen the protections for the Government of Bermuda in the provision of the $75m guarantee of local lending to support the redevelopment project.

“The unique arrangement for the repayment of that loan requires our legislation to be modified to facilitate the structure of the loan agreement. The proposed changes will add necessary certainty and security as the Government is determined to apply best practice and fulfill all necessary due diligence as it is the people of Bermuda who are supporting this critical redevelopment project.

“2024 completion remains the target, and I can assure the people of Bermuda that all parties have demonstrably committed to advancing this project. Its economic importance has been magnified in recent years, as we struggle to maintain key airlift and grow Bermuda’s market share in the meeting and large group business,” the Premier added.

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Comments (23)

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  1. Island Man Bermuda says:

    This is why the Premier has been tight lipped. He knew all along the devil was in the details and it has always been about selling condos. Do NOT allow this. It’s a travesty selling off all this beautiful green space. Tuckers Point is a concrete jungle, condos everywhere. Also to note RBK says the SDO is still valid from 2009. That is not true. That SDO was only valid for 5 years so it has expired and a brand new one needs to be submitted and the amount of units is a ton more. Wake up Bermuda, do not build condo’s all over the golf course and at Turtle Hill that has a battery and by the looks of it will just be built on.

    • watching says:

      It is not all about condos. It is about opening a hotel and providing jobs both in the renovation, construction and operational phase. Why do some of you want this project to fail so badly? The injection into our economy will be enormous through all these phases. Many bermudians will benefit. Is it perfect? But why do you want it to fail so badly? A refurbished and open Fairmont Southampton can only be an asset to our country.

      • Island Man Bermuda says:

        No one is against the reopening of the hotel. What people are against is being hoodwinked again. We do not need more over priced condos on this island that locals can not even dream of owning. We do not need more concrete jungles like the St. Regis condos, Azura, Belmont, Palmetto Gardens, Grand Atlantic, Tuckers Point to name a few. We don’t have much green space left on this island for our children, stop building all over it. The hotel is a key part of this island we get it and support the reopening but what it looks like is a real estate condo project disguised as a tourism project. What will happen is Gencom will sell off all the condo’s then just not care about the hotel and let it crumble. They will make so much money over selling the condos. Do not let them build all over the land. Tourism only.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          Well put and agree 100% but ‘watching’ will never get it .

      • sandgrownan says:

        Yes it is. It’s about providing a return for investors in a reasonable timeframe. The hotel won’t provide that, but real estate will. It’s simple.

        And it will be at the cost of taxpayer funds, which we can ill afford, and the loss of green space. We cannot afford that either.

        Bermuda is broke and desperate. And it’s the PLP’s fault. Entirely.

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          The problem with selling land is that once sold, it is gone unless the seller buys it back.

          A hotel or other rental property provides income every month, not just once, for as long as there are people who want to rent the property.

          That is why selling off Bermuda is bad for the future.

      • Tucker says:

        Wow…you’re gullible.

  2. Dejavu says:

    The comments are the hotel should be used for tourism. What tourism?! Not one hotel in bermuda has had anywhere near 100% occupancy in 20 years. There’s zero need for Southampton princess to open and there is zero need for condos because again the island is full unsold condos. The island needs entertainment for example a water park or theme park. How are we surrounded by water and don’t have one water park? But yet we have the most golf courses anywhere in the world lol. There’s nothing to do in bermuda and for that reason tourism and the population will continue to fall rapidly

    • watching says:

      this is ridiculous. a water park will in no way be the panacea. especially if there are no rooms in the island for tourists to stay. Yes it could be an amenity but not in isolation.

      • Dejavu says:

        There are plenty of hotel rooms because none of the hotels can get more than 50% occupancy. Because there’s no tourist and the reason there’s no tourist because it’s nothing to do. What parts are you missing? There’s zero reason why anyone would want or need to stay in bermuda

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          Sorry, Dejavu, I disagree. There are plenty of reasons to come to Bermuda. Unfortunately, we priced ourselves out the general tourist market 35 or 40 years ago, but there are still things in Bermuda to enjoy.

          Do I wish we still had a variety of live entertainment like we used to? Of course. And I believe live entertainment in the evenings would encourage more tourists to come here. But it is a bit of a chicken or egg conundrum.

          • Dejavu says:

            You can disagree all you want with facts but a smart person would have examples of entertainment instead of just keep saying we have things to do. Name 3 things to do in bermuda that you can’t do anywhere else in the world for 10x cheaper. Your generation ruined bermuda for years to come

            • Joe Bloggs says:

              “Your generation ruined bermuda for years to come”

              Well, there we have it. Your mind is made up.

            • Tucker says:

              ” Your generation ruined bermuda for years to come”

              No, your government ruined Bermuda, for decades to come.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Oh lord , ‘water parks’ .. here we go again .

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “But yet we have the most golf courses anywhere in the world lol. ”

      A claim New Zealand also makes (based on population size).

      • Dejavu says:

        How big is New Zealand compared to Bermuda? So that means it has more land right so having a lot of golf courses makes sense because they have land. How in a country with no land to spare does it make sense to use the little we have for golf courses? The old way of thinking is why Bermuda will be worse than Jamaica in less than 20 years

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          Google reports that New Zealand has a land mass of 103,483 square miles.

          I do not know if New Zealand’s claim is true. In only know I have heard that claim from several New Zealanders

  3. Tom says:

    The hotel needs knocking down!! Asbestos, mold, all electrical and plumbing needs to be renewed!

  4. James says:

    Tourist don’t visit Bermuda to swim in pools. They visit for the beautiful crystal clear beaches. The large swimming pool needs to placed on the back burner or the fish will be swimming in it come the first hurricane. It appears to on the same level as the beach.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “Tourist don’t visit Bermuda to swim in pools.”

      A walk past the pool at Hamilton Princess on any summer Sunday proves the fallacy of that comment

  5. Robin Stuart says:

    Good evening,
    I live in the Boston area and have been coming to visit Bermuda for 35 years! My whole family adores it. We are not looking for new things to do. We love Bermuda just the way it is. We come to enjoy the beautiful beaches and all Bermuda has to offer. I have traveled to many countries in the world but Bermuda is the favorite. The residents of Bermuda are kind and welcoming.

    We like to stay at the Fairmont Southampton. This location is superb because of its close proximity to the private beach and Horsehoe Bay. There are several restaurants on site, a shuttle to Hamilton from the Waterlot, and golf (though we are not golfers). We had reservations the fall before it closed for so-called renovations. We were told that it would re-open in 18 months. It is shocking to me that all these years have passed and it is not even started. I understand that the pandemic has played a part in the delay but it seems ridiculous that things are not further down the line if this hotel is indeed so crucial to a successful economy on the island. I hope that this situation can and will change for the sake of Bermudians and those who come to visit. Please know that there are many
    who would like to return to their favorite hotel as soon as possible!

  6. Lisa says:

    I love the Fairmont Southampton! I always stay there with my sons when I come to Bermuda. For me it deals a lot with the location. I enjoy going to the South Shore Beaches and being near the Dockyard and easy access to Hamilton. I like that the moped rentals are on property. I do agree that there should be no condos. I think that would ruin the ambience. I can’t wait till it reopens. Bermuda definitely is my happy place and I love how kind the people are on this beautiful island.